By Chris Torres
Signal Staff Writer
After the clock struck 6:30 p.m., the noise from the crowd grew louder with anticipation to see Old Town Newhall Main Street illuminated with Christmas lights.
Santa Clarita Mayor Bill Miranda counted down from five while Councilman Cameron Smyth flipped the switch to kick off the city’s first ceremonial Christmas tree lighting in person since 2019.
After holding the annual event virtually last year, the Santa Clarita City Council was able to organize Light Up Main Street in person on Saturday in front of the Old Town Newhall Library to ring in the holiday season.
“After a virtual event last year, it is wonderful to be back in person to celebrate with all of Santa Clarita,” said Miranda.
Hundreds of families crowded Main Street to witness the tree lighting ceremony and to participate in multiple, holiday-themed activities including writing letters to Santa Claus, feeding real reindeer, and taking pictures with Santa Claus and the Grinch.
Anahita Perez, a Santa Clarita resident and mother of two, said the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on her family’s well-being and by having the event in person again, it did wonders for her mental health.
“It helps create a sense of normalcy after such a chaotic last two years,” said Perez.
Perez also said her family comes to the Light Up Main Street event to get photos with Santa Claus, but have not been able to since 2019.
The event also included a pit with real snow for kids to play in, giving them an opportunity that is rare in Santa Clarita. Food trucks, arts and crafts tables and vendors lined the streets with live music performances from the rock band, Electric Vinyl, playing in the background.
Despite the activities, food and photo opportunities, Margarita Mercado-Martinez, a first-time attendee of Light Up Main Street, said the best part was seeing the giant, 25-foot-tall, Christmas tree and Main Street become lit up with Christmas lights.
“[The lighting ceremony] was very magical,” Mercado-Martinez said. “Seeing all that puts you right into the Christmas spirit. I’ll definitely be coming back next year.”